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92,000 LEGO Robots To Take Over Peruvian Schools Alongside OLPC

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the resistance-is-futile dept.

Portables 56

An anonymous reader writes "The president of Peru, Alan Garcia, decided to celebrate the 500,000th One Laptop Per Child XO laptop in that country in style, announcing orders for half a million more and 20,000 additional Lego education WeDo robot kits for public schools, bringing the total number of kits for distribution up to 92,000. The latest OLPC laptop, the XO-1.75, has the lowest power draw ever thanks to a Marvell Armada 600 ARM processor and runs Fedora GNU/Linux with dual desktops Sugar (in Spanish, Aymara, and Quechua) and GNOME. For the first time, the XOs will be manufactured locally; the previous 2 million, including the blue high school variant with grownup keyboard, were all made by Quanta Computer. Meanwhile, parallel development continues on the upcoming XO-3 tablet; OLPC's New Technologies director is exploring software paths including GTK3 for Sugar, Android and Chrome. I, for one, salute our new plastic Peruvian overlords."

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tablets are for idiots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35755998)

really lets give them somehting that they can only do what YOU want them to do.....riiiiight

Re:tablets are for idiots (1)

bothemeson (1416261) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756028)

difficult to reply to this.... did you mean something when you typed it? keep taking the tablets ;-)

Help with Bioethics Q - Slightly OT right audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756764)

This might be a little OT, but could someone watch this video of a bunch of piranhas attacking a mouse in an aquarium? [] [] [] []

Re:tablets are for idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756064)

Yes, and also, has anyone really been far as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

Re:tablets are for idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756942)

Judging by your complete inability to form a sentence, I can only assume you own dozens of tablets.

Another advantage (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756020)

Yet another big advantage that Peruvian school children will have over Americans.

The first being that they don't giggle uncontrollably when they hear about "Lake Titicaca."

Re:Another advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756074)

Actually, "caca" means "doo-doo" in some South American countries.

Re:Another advantage (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756144)

actually, you are a little bitch.

Re:Another advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756148)

Stop insulting yourself.

Re:Another advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35759448)

Actually, "caca" means "doo-doo" in some South American countries.

Actually, "caca" means "rock" in Quechua, and Titicaca would translate as "Puma Rock" or "Rock of the mountain cat".

Re:Another advantage (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 3 years ago | (#35760674)

Also in several non-South American countries

Re:Another advantage (1)

jdmuskrat (1463759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35759446)

in a deeply religious country like Peru they are forging ahead into the future in their school system. here in the US the republicans, using deeply religious ideology, are forging the school systems back int the dark ages. so now we can lag third world countries as a world class fourth world country.

obligatory (2)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756122)

I, for one, welcome our new LEGO overlords!

Re:obligatory (2)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756224)

Good thing you didn't read the last line of the summary before posting this, or else you wouldn't have been able to make it to first post... oh, wait...

Re:obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757754)


Re:obligatory (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756978)

I wish I went to a school where they gave me a computer to muck around with and lego robots to control.

Re:obligatory (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758930)

I did! Granted we didn't have the actual Mindstorm stuff, I did do a class titled 'Robotics' which was basically just playing around with Lego/Technic, and making things that can do stuff.

Available for purchase (4, Interesting)

hufman (1670590) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756184)

When will these OLPC XO-1.75 be ready for general consumers to buy? I have decided that this 2W laptop with 20 hours of battery shall be my next purchase, but when will Amazon or any other store carry them?

Re:Available for purchase (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756212)

I agree, I think the markets really underestimated the publics desire to have something like this.

Re:Available for purchase (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756348)

The markets aren't about pleasing the consumer. That would have been true in capitalism but that phase is over.
Now the market is owned by big players who in turn owe money to the banks without whom they would have not gotten into a significant position in the first place. I don't imply that banking is necessarily evil and about making the consumer unhappy. I imply that this happens today, though.

Re:Available for purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757424)

"[W]ho in turn owe money to the banks without whom they would have not gotten into a significant position in the first place."
Big players like:
American Eagle Outfitters
Panera Bread
Wrigley (Gum)
EA Sports

Who owe money to, which banks again? Oh, yeah, none. Funny, that.

Re:Available for purchase (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756264)

I'm fairly certain the answer is never. The worst part is they're, like, $200 each. Take that iPad, am I right?

Re:Available for purchase (1)

linuxwolf69 (1996104) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757496)

And they could easily finance OLPC to the rest of the world by selling it to the general public. Instead of 200, sell it for 300 or 400... This way the "wealthy developed world" will pay for them to be made and GIVEN to poorer countries.

Re:Available for purchase (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758410)

That is one way it was promoted at first. Buy one for yourself and one gets donated.

It didn't do too well, would be best for them to just plain sell them on the open market at a decent price point.

Re:Available for purchase (1)

cananian (73735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35765264)

The original G1G1 program also had large support and marketing costs.

Re:Available for purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757156)

(1) They look like ass. Bulky day-glo green and white plastic. The design aesthetic is clearly intended to make them undesirable to thieves.

(2) OLPC has always, always been hyped to hell and back. Why should anyone believe any claim about power *now* when earlier claims have been lies [] ?

Re:Available for purchase (1)

cananian (73735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35765288)

Yes, the design of the laptop is intended to make it clear that it is a children's machine.

The hand-crank was always a creation of the confused media coverage. You *can* power the XO-1/1.5/1.75 with a hand crank -- you just wouldn't want to. Your arms are not the strongest part of your body, and the cranking motion is inefficient. OLPC invested in multiple different power technologies for different parts of the world -- step-powered generators, cow-powered generators, small and large solar panels, car battery multi-chargers, etc. Large-scale solar power is the only thing which deployment countries have been eager to adopt in large numbers. We respond to our deployments.

Incidentally, the lower power consumption of the XO-1.75 unsurprisingly makes it work better on solar power as well.

thanks (0)

lele100308 (2035024) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756260)

I am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information.

A Tablet? Really? (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756326)

An XO Tablet? Really? Now we are so sold on this tablet fad that we won't even teach the children to use a keyboard anymore?

Re:A Tablet? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756766)

It hinges open, and you can use one half either as more tablet space, or as a keyboard

Re:A Tablet? Really? (1)

cananian (73735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35765294)

That's the XO-2 design, which was discontinued. The XO-3 design is a single screen -- look for more details on this soonish. (The renderings on the olpc website are not up to date.)

Re:A Tablet? Really? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35758996)

Yeah! Why back when I was a boy, we didn't have no fancy-dancy-tablety-touchy-feely-screens for our inputs. No Sir! We used a GENU-WINE IBM keyboard weighing in at about 40 pounds and made of good honest American gunmetal steel. When if finally wore out you could use is as a boat anchor or sell it for scrap for a pretty penny. Yes, that's the way it was, AND WE LIKED IT.........!

Not trolling but... (2, Insightful)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756360)

American schools want kids to have iPads, and Peruvian schools give kids laptops and robot building kits. I wonder which one will help their development? The closed platform where they could spend the day playing Angry Birds, or the open platform where they can actually do USEFUL things. With robots!

Anyway, keep in mind... Peruvian kids (or latin american kids in general) are too ugly to use Apple products. They must look just awful in black turtlenecks, right?

I hope someone reads this before I get downmodded by the Hipster Fanboi crowd.

Re:Not trolling but... (2)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756384)

I was about to mod you insightful for your first paragraph. Then I read the rest. Way to prevent any chance of a good mod.

Re:Not trolling but... (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35767150)

I am a latin american. I can laugh at myself ;)

Re:Not trolling but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757316)

this made me smile.

Re:Not trolling but... (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35759400)

1) Start reading here [] and then check out the rest of his blog.

I can give you are some practical anecdotes which, I hope, will give you a flavour of the change.

  • Last week, we couldn't get the Primary 3 pupils to stop doing maths and go for lunch.
  • My daughter April asked me if I could install the educational apps from school on my iPad so she could use them at home.
  • We're seeing a reduction in the amount of homework forgotten or not done.
  • "Forgetting your folder" for a subject is now a thing of the past.

2) a) You're a douche. b) You know Apple LOVES multi-ethnics in their ads. :-)

wait, wait (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756418)

an XO (which IIRC is open design down to the BIOS) with a normal keyboard? Pretty cool, I missed the news about it till now. This is worth more than all the iPad related announcements that flood the web, at least for me.

Re:wait, wait (1)

cananian (73735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35765308)

Yeah, OLPC (and the XO) have been making steady progress for the past few years. There are "grown up" versions of the XO with more standard keyboards, and the XO-1.5 have more memory and processor than before, etc.

OLPC (1)

Elliot Chang (1819954) | more than 3 years ago | (#35756498)

Big fan of OLPC and of Legos - so this rocks.

Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35756910)

Is that more or less than the number of elevators in Peru, I need to know if its time to declare a Lego invasion.

lego (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757304)

The only downside here, is that Lego software does NOT run on Linux, only Window$ OS

Re:lego (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35757610)

Plugins exist for Sugar and Lego is rewriting code [] for the platform.

What do the kids get out of it? (1)

phrackwulf (589741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35757860)

Can they learn to program on these things? Lego's and laptops are great, but I'm skeptical about the overall benefits of programs like these. Another problem is whether the kids really get to learn the fundamentals of the chips and hardware that go into these little OLPC's. What happens when the kids grow up and technology marches along to the next thing? Wouldn't it be better to be able to rent low cost OLPC's from a central source then take them back when you are done or the technology has been obsoleted? I guess I have visions of million OLPC piles of these computers ending up in Indonesian landfills.

Re:What do the kids get out of it? (1)

Ancantus (1926920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35761722)

I can vouch that these programs will help. I started programming the old RCX Lego Robots back when I was in elementary(ish) school. They are a great tool for introducing many beginning engineering concepts for mechanical and programming. There is a program in the USA(and other countries) called FLL or FIRST which puts on competitions with these robots for elementary/junior high school kids, and it was really one of the reasons I got into computer programming. I would love to see more of these educational engineering introduction programs, they make engineering a whole lot more fun than sitting in a classroom.

Will any of these kids use the programming language when their adults? No. But they will use loops, if statements, variables. And the earlier people are exposed to these simple programing concepts, the easier time they will have with learning more conventional languages.

Re:What do the kids get out of it? (1)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 3 years ago | (#35764310)

I can't say what the XO-1.75 is like, but I do have an XO-1 that I use regularly.

The XO-1's UI is heavily written in Python and has a simplified IDE for Python installed by default. It also comes with the awesome Scratch and Etoys images for its customised Squeak Smalltalk VM. There's also a LOGO program by default, and a POSIX terminal (which itself is written in Python from what I can tell). Holding down the game keys while booting can also bring up the OpenFirmware console and a Game of Life simulator. I'd say there's a lot to be learned from those systems that is applicable to others, especially Scratch.

A nifty feature of the hardware is that the microphone socket can be used as a general purpose analogue input, which I'm sure would be useful for robotics applications (eg. sensor input).

Also, as far as landfill goes, the XO-1 was the "greenest" laptop ever made when it came out, and there is talk of a free recycling scheme (although I don't know if it ever materialised) [] . The laptops are, obviously, extremely rugged, but even when they do break they are designed to be easy to strip down for parts (for example, the screen was engineered specifically to require no mercury). As far as being obsoleted goes, I think having a rental model would increase the sense of obsolescence, whilst having your own laptop that still runs after 10 years just as well as when it was first made, would give a sense of pride and familiarity to counteract the aggressive upgrade cycle that plagues the home computer world. As an example, my computing needs were served perfectly well by an Amiga 1200 for 10 years, and these XOs have resources an order of magnitude or two more than that.

It's a pretty amazing project, and I wish them the best of luck going forwards!

Priorities! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35758294)

And Peru will have children with notebooks, but with no food on the table...or a basic free health care system...or a welfare system...

This is the new "democracy".

Re:Priorities! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35759006)

Yeah, because Peru is "3rd world" it must be a shithole where no one can eat or survive, right? Not every developing country is Somolia.

how is this different from the US? (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35763326)

i hate to tell you this, but in the United States there are plenty of children with no food on the table, no free healthcare, and basically no welfare.

i.e. anyone who is working at a retail job full time with uncertain hours and has a child, they are basically exactly what you describe. no health insurance, no welfare (they are working), and barely able to afford food. certainly not healthy food.

India (1)

enupten (2036924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35759540)

If only India could work with the OLPC, instead of blabbering about making $30 tablets. Most public schools here are terrible, to say the least, even in the most "developed" of places. Sigh.

Re:India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35760534)

Hmm, maybe Indians should start by making fewer children. That alone can solve a lot of problems within as little as 30 years.

Re:India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35765172)

quite true, its a major problem already..over-population.

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35762528)

School take over factory...

No one's interested in operating systems any more? (1)

cananian (73735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35765328)

Hm. And I thought there'd be more interest here in the Android and ChromeOS angles. I guess not.

--scott (Director, New Technology, OLPC)

No Windows here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35784442)

...and before someone chimes in saying the OLPC project was doomed since the day it switched to Windows, let me assure you that there are no OLPC XO laptops shipped *EVER* with Windows on it.

el doc

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